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David Recordan: open, social web

David is a tech lead for Six Apart, home of the blogging software that powers most of the world’s pro blogs—Movable Type.

How do we make it easy for people to join sites, bring friends and profiles and take advantage of the substance of your offering? Why is it so hard currently – profiles, usernames, avatars, contact lists all duplicated across many sites. David quoted Tim O’Reilly saying;

Open Data is increasingly important as services move online

All data should be accessible from anywhere – desktop, laptop, mobile, ubiquitous and seamless. How does social graph information become decentralised. Historically social networking (Friendster, Myspace, Facebook) sites were castes with moats around them. Next came Ning which became the location in the middle of connected social network. However no one site is going to be the single place for data – so where do we go to from here?

How do we enable these sites to interact with each other? The Facebook platform took a decentralised view of the world – where offsite applications could be run within the Facebook platform – but that too was a sub-optimal solution.

OpenID, OAuth, XMPP, OpenSocial are all tools that can be used to help with these problems. David gave the example of Movable Type who have been aggregating external data on users blogs. We’re seeing a move from technologies to tools that help developers develop these technologies – an end-to-end view of open data. Pinax being the example he used.

The model is now “I have a website – I want it to do whatever I want it to do" – content from anywhere and everywhere”. The anatomy of connect includes;

  • Profile - identity
  • Relationships – followers, friends, contacts
  • Content – posts, photos, videos, links
  • Activity – bought, shared, blogged
  • Goal – discovery of people and content